Last in the series on Ripken Power Shred is this Teriyaki variety. See last week's review of their Sweet n' Spicy. Note that they also have an Original variety, but they were out of stock at the time.
Ripken Power Shred is a brand of Florio Sports, LLC based out of Long Valley, NJ. The company partnered with Cal Ripken Jr. to offer up a beef jerky snack that bears the name and number of the Iron Man of Baseball. It launched last month at the 2010 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) trade show in Atlanta, GA.
Ripken Power Shred uses a smaller 3oz package resembling a pouch of tobacco chew that reminds me of the Big League Chew bubblegum. They also offer the standard 0.32oz jerky chew canisters.
Brisket of beef, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, garlic, black pepper, organic worcestershire sauce, ginger.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a good deal of sweetness, and then followed soon by a light saltiness.
The chewing flavor starts with a noticeable teriyaki sauce flavor. There's a faint bit of black pepper flavor coming in.
For being dubbed a Teriyaki beef jerky, this seems to hold up to that description. I'm picking up a teriyaki flavor that seems reminiscent of real teriyaki sauce instead of just sweetened soy sauce that you find in many other teriyaki jerky brands. There's a very faint touch of ginger noticeable, so faint that I wouldn't notice it if I wasn't analyzing the flavors so closely. And I'm also getting a very light touch of tanginess in the chewing. The soy sauce part of the teriyaki is also very light.
As for which ingredient generates the primary flavor of this jerky, it's the teriyaki sauce. But it's a teriyaki sauce that's more heavily weighted on sweet.
The black pepper I noted above, continues at just a light touch, even after eating several pieces.
The natural meat flavors are non-existent. If anything, a few pieces of this jerky have some bits of fat attached, and they generate a light fatty flavor.
The level of saltiness in this feels to be at a low-level, even though the nutrition facts label shows a medium sodium content.
Overall, what you're going to notice in this jerky is just a teriyaki sauce that's more weighted on its sweetness, and less so on its soy sauce, ginger, and tangy components.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, and in cut into small bits and fragments, perhaps to mimic something like tobacco chew.
This a semi-moist jerky, with a semi-moist surface feel. These pieces are very soft and easy to bend and compress together with my fingers. I can actually pick up several bits and squeeze them together into a meatball.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and moist, with no chewing resistance. It chews down to a soft mass almost immediately, and at that point, feels like real meat, but very soft, somewhat mushy, almost like partially cooked ground beef.
I do see small bits and streaks of fat on some of these bits, and I also encountered some stringiness in the chewing. I didn't find any gristle or tendon, though I felt some unchewable wads of tissue remaining in my mouth.
As for clean eating, my fingers pick up a light film of stickiness, but still dry enough to type on my keyboard.
Ripken Power Shred can be purchased online at its website for a price of $34.95 for a six pack of 3oz pouches. Shipping comes to $5.95, for a total of $40.90. That works out to a price of $2.27 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.27 price per ounce, this Teriyaki beef jerky presents a fair value. I'm getting a fair amount of snackability for an overall satisfactory flavor, and easy eating, though a mushy chewing texture. Compared to major brands of jerky found in grocery stores, it's priced higher, though not necessarily with a better flavor or better meat consistency.
As a Teriyaki beef jerky, at the same $2.27 price per ounce, it's a fair value again. I do get a teriyaki flavor, that seems to have all the components of real teriyaki sauce, but more heavily weighted on the sweet.
I'm giving this an average rating.
This Teriyaki beef jerky from Ripken Power Shred has a decent teriyaki sauce flavor, one that seems to have something more close to real teriyaki sauce than the sweetened soy sauce that many other major brands seem to rely on. But it's still more heavily weighted on its sweetness, with just lighter touches of soy sauce, ginger, and tanginess.
Otherwise, there's not much else to taste in this jerky. I did pick up a faint black pepper, but it's just ever so light. There's no natural meat flavors to enjoy, and even the saltiness feels light. Overall, it's somewhat of a boring jerky in that it didn't give me any flavor complexity.
But I'm not prepared to rate this any lower than average because I still found myself digging into it and snacking away. It still seems to have the snackability I look for in an average-rated jerky, and I think part of that is due to how soft and tender it chews. I don't really care for how this jerky is cut into small bits and fragments. Even though it's supposed to mimic chewing tobacco, I'd rather have it mimic real beef jerky.
As for my recommended beer pairing, try a red ale like the Karl Strauss Red Trolley, or Bear Republic's Red Rocket Ale.
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- Note: Dec 25, 2012, Ripken Power Shred appears to be out of business.